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Hang Your Calendars Now

By Dan Grunloh, Editor, Light Plane World

Dan Grunloh

It’s February and time to take down your Christmas decorations and hang your EAA calendar if you haven’t already done so. We didn’t see much of the sun here in Illinois during the month of January, so it’s hard to imagine lush green grass and blue sky out the hangar door. But it’s all coming in only two months, and the fly-in schedule is already filling up. If your local chapter hasn’t yet selected a date for a public-invited fly-in, it’s time to get started.

If your EAA chapter doesn’t sponsor a public fly-in, ask yourself why. That capability is what you pay for with your annual chapter insurance. If you don’t participate in local EAA chapter activities, you’re missing out. As many know already, there’s more to flying than simply buzzing around the sky enjoying the scenery. Local events open to the public not only draw in new enthusiasts but they’re vital to recruit new aviation supporters in the community who may someday help save your airport. Hooking up with a local chapter will also give you access to the substantial chapter discount on EAA calendars. Only those of us who have already hung our 2011 EAA calendar know why January 23 was special this year.

I asked readers in the November issue of Light Plane World to identify their personal adventure for 2010 and challenged pilots to begin planning to do something new in 2011. Your time is up. The fun in aviation comes when you’re willing to try new things and expand your horizons. You only have to look at the life and times of Larry Newman to see what can be accomplished when you’re willing to strike out into a new area.

This issue contains feature articles about gyroplanes and glider flying. Existing certificated pilots including sport pilots can add ratings for gliders or gyroplanes with very minimal regulatory hassle. It’s easier than you think. Even before reading the glider story by Corey Cassavant, I had already decided to add a glider rating to my sport pilot certificate this year. I simply never got around to doing that at age 14 like so many others. It will be fun and should make me a better pilot if the experiences of Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and Larry Newman are any indication. It will not reduce my powered light-sport flying time as I plan to commute to glider lessons 40 miles away in my weight-shift light-sport trike. And if you thought modern gyroplanes were unsuitable for use at your short unimproved sod airstrip due to their takeoff requirements, check out the link to a demonstration of the Metro Launch in Tim O’Connor’s story about gyroplanes.

As February begins with a major winter storm and subzero temperatures in the upper Midwest, there’s no need to remind builders still in their workshop that the Sun ’n Fun Fly-In at Lakeland, Florida, begins in less than two months. For the rest of us, it’s time to complete our annual maintenance and condition inspection, hang up the EAA calendar, and start following through with the plans on our aviation adventure for 2011.  

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